July 22, 2014

Essex Town Meeting Approves Joining Regional Council of Governments

ESSEX— Voters at a town meeting Wednesday approved a resolution joining the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, a new organization that will supervise a planned merger of the two regional planning agencies serving Middlesex County towns.

About 30 residents turned out for the meeting, with the resolution approved on a voice vote with a handful of opposing votes. Linda Krause, the director of the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency, said the Essex vote puts the process on the verge of obtaining the 11 town membership approvals required to establish the new council of governments. An Old Lyme town meeting is expected to act on the membership resolution next week.

The Old Saybrook-based CRERPA and the Middletown-based Midstate Regional Planning Agency currently serve 17 towns, including all 15 municipalities in Middlesex County, along with Lyme and Old Lyme. Under the plan, the existing and more informal Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Elected Officials would become a council of governments that would manage the merged regional planning agencies.

Krause said the city of Middletown and Old Saybrook have joined the council, with other towns, such as Chester and Lyme, expected to act on the resolutions at the annual budget meetings in May. Deep River was one of the first towns to join, acting at a town meeting last December.

Voters at the town meeting also unanimously approved an expenditure of $109,711 from the capital improvements fund for Essex Elementary School to pay for some emergency and planned improvements at the school. The total includes $47,711 for a new oil boiler to replace a boiler that failed in February, and $56,500 to replace carpeting with new rubber flooring in seven classrooms in the 1991 addition to the school building. Carpeting had already been replaced with rubber flooring in most other sections as part of the recently completed renovation and expansion of the elementary school.